OMERVILLE, NJ – The owners of Cheech’s Own Coffee Company rolled out the red carpet and watched as their vision for the Ville Film Fest moved a step or two closer to reality Thursday night with hundreds of supporters attending a fund raising gala held across the street from their specialty coffee emporium at Village Brewing Company.
The inaugural Ville Film Fest is scheduled for Oct. 4-6, according to Cheech's co-owner and co-founder of the film festival, Steve Chiocchi.
He and his partner, Kyle Marino were high school classmates with a passion for film. They intend to share their love of film through the non-profit corporation they founded earlier this year.
Thursday night's gala included a silent auction with items donated by local merchants Money raised will help pay for venues, A/V and sound equipment, vendors, and accommodations, according to Chiocchi.
The gala was an opportunity for the two young entrepreneurs to share their vision with friends, supporters and members of the downtown business community.
Ville Fest Inc. is committed to establishing an annual event platform dedicated to exposing the influence of storytelling through independent film and art, according to Chiocchi.
“Our ultimate goal is to foster a permanent home for the arts community in Somerville and surrounding areas while contributing to the growth of our esteemed downtown with thousands of festival attendees every year,” he said.
Chiocchi has lined up a number of locations where there will be screenings, including United Reformed Church on Main Street; St. John's Lutheran Church; Verve Restaurant, Bar & Bistro; Project Pub, Cheech's and tentatively, the auditorium at the Middle School.
The Division Street pedestrian mall which hosts art shows, concerts and other events is also another possibility, Chiocchi said. Tents would be set up for screenings - right outside the front door of Cheech's.
Chiocchi and Marino brought on Barbara Vasconez as director of Operations. She is a film graduate from New York’s School of Visual Arts who has been involved in various film festivals including Tribeca, Rooftop Films, Hamptons Film Festival and the Montclair Film Festival.
The Downtown Somerville Alliance is one of the sponsors of Ville Film Fest.
“We’re excited to help bring the film festival to Somerville,” said Natalie Pineiro, executive director. “It’s a big deal and should be a great event and we hope there will be room for growth. It certainly fits our plan to bring more art and culture to downtown Somerville."